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One of the biggest problems I come across climbing in the Cascades is finding an appropriate shoe to climb in.

For my first year of alpine climbing, I mostly used high top, goretex hiking boots. This worked well on soft snow and glaciers - kept my feet dry, and were for the most part crampon compatible. When it came to the rock climbing portion of climbs though, I found them to be less than stellar, underperforming my climbing approach shoes and climbing shoes. I did end up switching into climbing shoes and carrying the boots in my bag, but ultimately wanted something that climbed snow and rock well.

Following that, I started climbing in boulder x approach shoes. The boulder x mids are goretex and high top, so work well for keeping my feet dry, climb extremely well on rock, can hike for miles in them, and worked reasonably well with strap-on crampons. But now they're discontinued.

I have a pair of mountaineering boots, but they don't walk very well, and I'm hesitant to wear them on a 20km+ hike so that they can perform well in snow / moderately on rock.

So what are you all using for your alpine shoes? We live in such a limited market area of the world... need something that hikes well, is waterproof and mid/high topped, strap-on crampon compatible, and climbs well. Why La Sportiva discontinued the boulder x mid is beyond me, but any awesome replacements?

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I'm obviously a bad influence with those pretty pictures.  There's  nothing but choss in my footsteps @Daphne H

But, if you can't be dissuaded, I too use a combo of Boulder X (low tops, which they still make) and Trango Alp (discontinued).  I think that the Trango Tower is a good alternative to the Alp that I will buy this winter.

I find that the Trango boots climb up to 5.6 pretty well and are more supportive in the talus and steep forest than the Boulder X.  If I am going to have to wear rock shoes and carry over a route, then the Boulder X seems to work OK enough. 

And, since I'm about comfort and not climbing hard, I wear the mythos on harder (for me- 5.7+) rock routes.

So, there you have it- the full choss dawg arsenal.

  • LMAO 1

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I have some Salewa Mountain Trainers that have worked well for me for some of these situations.  They err more towards mountain boot than rock shoe, but climb fairly well for a light boot and better than your average hiking shoe.  The current model is a bit changed though so I can't comment on it, (and now there is also an "alp trainer mid" that looks more hiking boot like).  You are right though, there aren't really many good options that do both rock and snow well.

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16 hours ago, OlympicMtnBoy said:

I have some Salewa Mountain Trainers that have worked well for me for some of these situations.  They err more towards mountain boot than rock shoe, but climb fairly well for a light boot and better than your average hiking shoe.  The current model is a bit changed though so I can't comment on it, (and now there is also an "alp trainer mid" that looks more hiking boot like).  You are right though, there aren't really many good options that do both rock and snow well.

And the few that pop up are discontinued extremely quickly :( I'll check out Salewa - thanks! I think that sounds just fine, as I wouldn't climb more than 5.5 or 5.6 in them.

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23 hours ago, JasonG said:

I'm obviously a bad influence with those pretty pictures.  There's  nothing but choss in my footsteps @Daphne H

 

 

I read in Rogers Pass Alpine that the Asulkan traverse was a fine outing on solid rock... at the end of the trip, I was left wondering what the authors definition of "solid rock" was, as I didn't really find much of that!! Guess that is the Rockies and close-to-Rockies for you?

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48 minutes ago, Daphne H said:

I read in Rogers Pass Alpine that the Asulkan traverse was a fine outing on solid rock

I thought it was solid, and I'm not joking @Daphne H :lmao:    Oh well, my standards are probably whacked.  We stayed close to the top of the ridge for nearly all of it.  When we deviated we certainly ran into some unsavory sections, but overall I thought it was a lot better than most of what the North Cascades has to offer.

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This is a good question, and one that I recently wrestled with on an alpine outing.

On snow and on loose scree/talus, you'll be more comfortable in stiffer shoes/boots. Tennis shoes or approach shoes plus aluminum crampons will exhaust your feet and get wet. My old Makalus are great on snow, ice, scree, and talus. But they are very heavy and large to put in a pack and carry over for an alpine rock route. Stiff boots are uncomfortable for longer hikes because the steel shank that makes them great on snow prevents them from flexing as you walk. The result for me is a sore foot if I have to cover more then 6+ miles on non-steep trail.

Tennis shoes or approach shoes, are very light and confortable but don't fare as well on snow, ice, scree, talus. 

I've found a good, light compromise is Five Tennies (insert your favorite approach shoe w climbing rubber) with Super Feet in them to make them slightly stiffer. They are fine for hiking on the trail, fare OK on snow (though they will get wet in sloppy snow, gators help), and have climbing rubber that works fine for climbing up to about 5.9, assuming there are some actual holds and you're not just climbing a pure friction slab. 

When you figure out a better solution please let me know!

 

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I've used the boulder-x and like it.   In past years I used "big-wall" shoes (I used a pair of original galibier robbins boots for decades until the uppers finally dissolved).  I believe boreal still makes such a shoe - sticky rubber, supportive, with a lugged sole.  fit them large enough to walk in - I didn't start using those robbins boots for alpinism until after about four years of stretch.   I've also glued stealth half-soles on running shoes, but these usually last less than a seaon as the shoes dissolve.

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Wide foot and I like leather shoes without GTX or any membrane as they don't dry or breathe well enough for me.  Also, I don't go out when it's wet very much.  Here's my last few approach shoes:

Past - Scarpa Crux, light weight,  fit well, not great for hiking in, thin soles and not much traction. Cheap $

Past - Scarpa Zen Pro, hike real well, great traction, gusseted tongue but fit a little narrow and heavy. Expensive $$$

Current - La Sportiva TX4, fit pretty well, great lacing, seems like a good compromise between the other two.  Moderate price and available in high top.

I also have some Salewa Rapace boots that are stiffer and heavier than any of these approach shoes but are great as a Cascade Mountain all around boot for 3 seasons.  Not quite a full on mountaineering boot but they hike very well with heavier loads, crampon and climb ok.  Pretty ideal for a multi-day trip into the Pickets where a lighter boot might not be sufficient.

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12 minutes ago, Bronco said:

Wide foot and I like leather shoes without GTX or any membrane as they don't dry or breathe well enough for me.  Also, I don't go out when it's wet very much.  Here's my last few approach shoes:

Past - Scarpa Crux, light weight,  fit well, not great for hiking in, thin soles and not much traction. Cheap $

Past - Scarpa Zen Pro, hike real well, great traction, gusseted tongue but fit a little narrow and heavy. Expensive $$$

Current - La Sportiva TX4, fit pretty well, great lacing, seems like a good compromise between the other two.  Moderate price and available in high top.

I also have some Salewa Rapace boots that are stiffer and heavier than any of these approach shoes but are great as a Cascade Mountain all around boot for 3 seasons.  Not quite a full on mountaineering boot but they hike very well with heavier loads, crampon and climb ok.  Pretty ideal for a multi-day trip into the Pickets where a lighter boot might not be sufficient.

I was thinking of picking up the TX4 Mids as the reviews looked good, glad to see others here are using them too.

I like the scarpa crux for cragging / multipitch with short approach/descent, but definitely not for glacier...

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I just got a pair of Kayland Plume Micro boot from Sierra Trading Post.  They are replacing my worn out Salewas and seem like they will do well for a similar light boot purpose.  I haven't worn em outside yet though.

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Scarpa used to make Ascent Tech GTX- which were probably one of the best alpine approach (including glaciers) and for scrambling. Unfortunately they stopped making them. 

 

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Just an update. Found a pair of Scarpa Ascent Tech GTX on eBay (they were brand new) in my size. IMHO, this is one of the best light alpine/heavy approach shoes ever made. They climb well up to about 5.6, can attach crampons for glacier travel. 

Screen Shot 2018-12-03 at 1.42.44 PM.png

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Maybe look at the scarpa zodiac tech gtx? Same idea as the trangos but far more flexible and a more supple upper. Theres also the ribelle tech OD. Both will climb rock well and are semi auto crampon compatible but the zodiac seems to fit your requirements a little better (and are far "cheaper")

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